Christian missionaries held an anti-Islamic protest at the Dearborn, Mich., Arab International Festival and taunted Arab-Americans with a pig's head mounted on a pole while shouting "You're gonna burn in hell," according to reports Saturday.
The incident took place Friday evening at the annual Arab International Festival, according to the Detroit Free Press. The three-day festival is the largest of its kind in the U.S., and it has been a magnet for protests for years. Dearborn has the greatest concentration of Arab-Americans in the country, and many of them are Muslim.
The festival, sponsored by the American Arab Chamber of Commerce, has brought as many as 300,000 people from the U.S., Canada and the Middle East to Dearborn in previous years.
The protests were particularly strident in light of the event's inclusive attitude. "Every year more and more people of all races and cultures are joining us in celebrating our rich heritage," American Arab Chamber of Commerce executive director Fay Beydoun said.
The protesters also carried signs with bigoted slogans like "Repent, be converted, that your sins may be blotted out" or "Muhammad is a ... liar false prophet murderer child molesting pervert." However, the pig's head on the pole was particularly offensive, both for its grotesqueness, and because Islam teaches that pork is unclean.
The Wayne County Sheriff's department tried to keep the peace by using mounted officers to intervene between the protesters and the people attending the festival, but children did wind up throwing water bottles at the protesters and some festival attendees chanted "Allahu Akbar" (God is Great), according to the Detroit Free Press. One of the protesters responded "Jesus Akbar."
Somewhat surreally, the song "Why Can't We Be Friends?" was playing on the loudspeakers during the protest, reported the Dearborn Patch. Several festival attendees were cited for disorderly conduct, but no official arrests were made.
The protesters won't return to the Arab International Festival again this weekend because they are planning on protesting a gay pride festival in Ohio on Saturday, according to the Detroit Free Press.
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